Career advice

Put your appraisal plan into action

Having completed your appraisal, you will have a development plan for the coming year. Here's how to make sure it works for you and your patients.
Development plan_tile_iStock.jpg

Having completed your appraisal, you will have a development plan for the coming year. Here's how to make sure it works for you and your patients

Hopefully you have learned from your appraisal discussion and feel motivated. But to have a successful year ahead and grow as a nursing professional, you will need to turn your personal development plan (PDP) into action. Here we look at ways you can do so without feeling overwhelmed.

Break it down

Along with your manager you will have identified objectives for the next 12 months, but looking at these on a list can be daunting. As with any plan, what you need to do is start at the beginning and take small steps forward.

Instead

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Having completed your appraisal, you will have a development plan for the coming year. Here's how to make sure it works for you and your patients


By tackling your agreed goals and objectives throughout the year, you are
developing professionally and improving patient care. Picture: iStock

Hopefully you have learned from your appraisal discussion and feel motivated. But to have a successful year ahead and grow as a nursing professional, you will need to turn your personal development plan (PDP) into action. Here we look at ways you can do so without feeling overwhelmed.

Break it down

Along with your manager you will have identified objectives for the next 12 months, but looking at these on a list can be daunting. As with any plan, what you need to do is start at the beginning and take small steps forward.

Instead of going into a flurry of activity the month before next year's appraisal is due, give yourself mini goals to work towards throughout the year. For example, if you want to become competent in a new clinical skill, work out the steps needed to achieve this. Try giving yourself tasks to complete each month, making sure each one is aligned with your identified objectives.

Be proactive

When wards are running at full capacity and you are constantly working, your PDP may seem the lowest of your priorities. Remember that by tackling your agreed goals and objectives, you are gathering evidence that can be used for your revalidation and doing your bit to improve patient care. 

Your manager can be used as a source of support and should meet with you after another six months to review your progress. Don't be afraid to seek extra feedback on your performance, either: you can use this information to gauge if you are on track to meet your objectives. If you aren't you may need to reassess your plans so that you bridge any gaps.

Sometimes it can be helpful to buddy up with another nurse. You can work through your plans together, setting targets and sharing ideas and inspiration. If you feel stuck or riddled with self-doubt, having someone to confide in can help improve your confidence. Similarly, helping a colleague to succeed can give you an extra incentive to attack your own goals.

Remember your 'why'

Your PDP lays out what you want to achieve professionally in the coming year. To make it achievable, it can help to get back in touch with what matters to you and what motivates you to be the best nurse you can be. Think back to when you first started nursing – what inspired you then? You can use this to drive you forward and to keep improving the care you provide.


Mandy Day-Calder is a freelance writer and life/health coach

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